by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will have a chance to return back to winning ways when they’ll travel to Scotland to face the Glasgow Rocks on the 22nd December.
The Nix will look to put the marginal loss against the Surrey Scorchers behind them as quickly as possible and they’ll have the perfect opportunity to do just that, as the fixture against Glasgow will tip-off less than 48 hours after Phoenix’s unsuccessful trip to Surrey.
Glasgow will come into the fixture with a 1-1 record while Cheshire currently sits on a 2-1 record. The last time the two sides faced off was on the 17th November in the BBL Cup. The permutations around that game meant that whatever the outcome was at the end of the 40 minutes, Cheshire would qualify for the Quarter-Final while the Rocks would miss out on the latter stages. The game finished 88-78 in favor of the Scots, however in the reverse fixture which happened on the 25th October and had much more significance in terms of qualification, the Nix obtained a narrow 74-72 victory away from home.
Sunday’s game will be Glasgow home opener so they’ll be extra motivated to get the win in front of their home crowd. They have some crafty players on their roster who will look to cause the Nix all sorts of problems. Alasdair Fraser is one of the elite scorers in the league. His 23 points-per-game rank him as the second-best scorer, only bettered by Orlan Jackman’s 24 points-per-game. New signing Dante Thorpe is their assist-man, he’s averaging four dimes per game. The experienced Gareth Murray and the imposing Maxime Djo Ebala will also try to make the game uncomfortable for the Nix.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for both teams, as the two sides played away from home on Friday night, so there won’t be any rest advantage for either side. The Nix played well against the Scorchers, the final result proved that it was a closely contested game, however, it also showed that Phoenix’s defensive lapses proved to be one too many come to the final buzzer. Their shooting wasn’t great either, 40% FG and 30% 3PT weren’t winning numbers. Cheshire did other things well though, like grabbing 55 rebounds, accumulating 17 assists by making good, unselfish plays for each other and pick-pocketing their opponents on 10 occasions. The two-man bench also outscored Surrey’s second unit 19-9.
Phoenix must improve their shooting percentages in Scotland. Ben Mockford, Louis Sayers and Parker Jackson-Cartwright will have to carry the load from three-point territory while Jalen Hayes and Michael Ochereobia will have to dominate the paint just like they did against the Scorchers. Cheshire’s twin towers combined for 29 points and 18 rebounds against Surrey. The same will be expected on Sunday as the Nix will look to improve their record to 3-1.
BRING THE NOISE! GO PHOENIX!